Friday, February 22, 2008

Open letter to my brother, Jake

(This post is in response to my brother Jake's recent blog post.)

Welcome to the steep learning curve that is Parenthood! This is a very interesting post, Jake. I read it this afternoon, and found myself reflecting on it most of this evening - enough so, that I am actually writing a comment.

Although this situation is none of my business - and I acknowledge that - it IS on your blog for all the public to see. I made a few observations, which I hope might help you in some way. In this spirit, I'd like to share them with you.

You wrote a lot about forgiveness. That would mean that you must have apologized to someone for something you did, or didn't, do. However, nowhere in your post to I even see the word "sorry". Are you really sorry for what your actions (or what was perceived as your actions) were, or are you just sorry and bugged that your life has been made more complicated by a misunderstanding? (That's a purely rhetorical question. Please don't send me an email telling me how off-base I might be!)

Also, part of being truly sorry for something is allowing the offended party however much time they need to forgive. To show impatience and a kind of "hurry up and forgive me already" isn't really being sorry. Forgiveness has no time table. When you really seek someone's pardon, you allow them to take however much time they need. Being sorry is almost the ultimate act of humility, no? Forgiveness cannot be demanded.

Lastly, I don't think that the "lag" in time to show forgiveness is a church community thing. It is a human condition thing. It is so easy for us in the church to have very high - sometimes unreasonably - expectations for each other. We hold fellow members to these very high standards, and if they aren't met - if a person acts less than the ideal taught in sunday school - well, they're not living their religion. You want someone to give you a break. Don't you think you could start by giving them a break? You boast about your compassionate heart, yet where is the compassion for those whose hearts hold less than yours?

I know it can be tough. God knows I'm not perfect and I have a long way to go. I've had my own faith challenged by some very, very ignorant actions by others at church. I would have had every excuse to walk away. But I had to get past my expectation that church members should act better. Give it time, Jake. And give them and yourself, that much needed break. Like my favorite sacrament meeting gem says:

Sister Anderson went to see her bishop. She was having a hard time going to church, and didn't want to attend any longer. "There's just so many hypocrites!" she cried to her bishop. Her bishop looked at her with understanding, put his arm around her, and said, "Don't worry, Sister Anderson. There's always room for one more!"

Love you. xo

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